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Christmas Caroling In Belarus

Christmas Caroling In Belarus
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Traditional "Christmas carol kings" or "Kalyada tsars" parade through the village of Semezhevo as part of an attempt in Belarus this year to keep old traditions like Christmas caroling (Kalyady) alive. It's believed to be connected to historical events, when soldiers asked villagers for food during Christmas time. In 2007 the ritual was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Meanwhile, in the city of Homel, the Talaka youth group dressed in symbolic costumes to sing traditional carols at the local market to wish traders a prosperous year. The bear symbolizes the pagan god Viales and the goat is a symbol of well-being and prosperity. Koliady is an ancient pagan holiday initially celebrated on the winter solstice but since appropriated to celebrate Christmas, New Year according to the Julian calendar, and other winter holidays. (RFE/RL's Belarus Service)